Montgomery County to Host 25th Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18 with Music, Artistic Performances, Educational Activities, the African American Living Legend Awards, and More

by Patrick Herron

“Juneteenth is a chance to gather with our community, celebrate our diversity, and remember our history,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We reaffirm that we are stronger as a County because of our diversity.  This year’s Juneteenth activities are designed to engage and educate, as well as entertain, because this holiday is a reminder that we can’t take freedom for granted. We look to the future with great hope and with a renewed commitment to pursuing justice. I urge our residents, and visitors, to join us for this year’s Juneteenth celebration and spend time learning more about this important national holiday.”

The event will feature traditional events like the award recognition ceremony and Juneteenth inspired food. This year’s “Journey To Freedom,” will Memorialize the Struggle, Celebrate the Successes, and Secure Justice and equality through education, art, dance, music, and honoring our elders.

New this year, the festivities will include Trail of Knowledge educational passport activities, a historical journey of African American Music and artistic entertainment, and food trucks, all designed for the whole family. Activities will take place throughout BlackRock Center campus as well as at the Germantown Library. Special Guest Rare Essence will perform along with other musical and artistic surprises.

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, the Human Rights Commission, Friends of the Human Rights Commission and the County Executive’s African American Advisory Group are coordinating the program in partnership with the BlackRock Center for the Arts, with support from the City of Rockville, and a number of County departments and services, to commemorate the 157th anniversary of the events of June 19, 1865. On that day, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its enslaved persons. The event today is known as Juneteenth and is celebrated widely across the United States.

County Executive Elrich will again host the African American Living Legend Awards on June 17 to honor distinguished individuals who are living legends in Montgomery County and have helped shape the cultural heritage of the African American community. The honorees have dedicated their lives to service and excellence, with accomplishments in areas including business, health, media, sports, education, law, ministry, community organizations, medicine, or politics. A call for nominations will be issued to the community.

“The end of slavery not only meant freedom for a people, it meant freedom for a nation, however, nothing is guaranteed; as we see efforts at voter suppression nationwide, confrontation with law enforcement and excessive force issues for black and brown people, social justice crisis and an attempted insurrection and end of our democracy,” said Office of Human Rights Director James Stowe. “This is a must attend program for every freedom-loving member of our community. As we still have COVID-19 concerns, we will be observing all County required safety measures that may be in place at that time. So come on out and bring your entire family for a full day of education, fun, good food, music, art, and entertainment.”

Information on how to register for the event will be available on the Office of Human Rights website as additional details become available. For more information call James Stowe at the Office of Human Rights at 240-888-5502.

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